THE title race took another twist at the weekend, as the weather intervened in half of the games scheduled.

Barnard Castle, hoping to retain their title, were the big movers at the top as they won at home to neighbours Darlington, while their other title contenders were rained off.

Barney won the toss and decided to bat first at Vere Road, totalling 136 all out, with eight of the batsmen getting into double figures, but not able to push on and make a big score.

Richard Borrowdale top scored with 21 and Josh Bousfield made 20, in a crucial 30 run partnership.

Jonny Barnes, as ever, bowled well, removing both openers and skipper James Finch returning 3-27 and then Dale Marshall claimed an impressive 4-36 to bowl the rest of the team out.

The current champions then set about their task and Robert Dixon removed the top three batsman, claiming 3-35 and with fellow opening bowler Josh Bousfield claiming 3-23 and Karl Turner 3-10, they had the visitors reeling and eventually all out for just 79.

Barney are now third, eight points behind leaders Great Ayton, who made a brief start (2-0) at Middlesbrough and Richmondshire and Marton were also victims of the weather, as Marton were 13-0 when rain stopped play in their big match.

Stokesley are now fifth, after they were also rained off on 23-0 at Marske.

With Darlington losing at the bottom and now only 26 points from the drop, Seaton Carew made the most of their opportunity to leap-frog them at home to bottom club Norton, which they took in full.

Barring a miracle, Norton are all but relegated after they chose to bat first, making 134 all out.

Opener Adam Fenby scored 49, but no-one could stay with him. Usman Arshad returned 4-23 and Danny Thomas 3-13 with some excellent bowling.

When Seaton batted, Arshad made 38 and put on 48 runs for the second wicket, with David Seymour (44 not out) and skipper Paul Braithwaite (34 not out), to see their team home for victory and 20 valuable points, which now gives them a 31-point cushion.

In the big match at the bottom, Guisborough won at Hartlepool.

With games running out, their trip to Park Drive was a key match for both. Ex-Pools professional Shanuka Dissanayake was in great nick for the visitors with both bat and ball as he returned 4-17 off 15 overs, to limit the home side to just 117 all out.

Neil Coverdale was the top scorer with 38 and Chris Nicholls and Neil Russell, both claimed two wickets apiece.

When the Priorymen batted, they were in a bit of trouble at 25-2, but Dissanayake’s unbeaten 55 off 48 balls, including five fours, saw them home. He put on 52 with Graham Murray (28), for the fourth wicket. They are now just six points behind Hartlepool, with five games to go.